27 and a PhD

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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Order

People that know me well know that I thrive in when things are in order, organized. The move threw my whole world upside down, especially money-wise. I was lucky enough to have good weather and low-traffic weekends to move everything. After handing over the keys to my old place, I haven’t hear from my roommate. I count that as a good thing. I left my room in pristine condition.

Now I have to shop for new doctors. I moved so far away from my former neighbourhood that it would be silly to try to keep my old doctors. Hopefully I can get a less creepy podiatrist. I am keeping my dentist though, she’s awesome. I’m back on my mood meds, which is partly why Twitter felt overwhelming. I’m still not 100% myself, but I’m definitely more hopeful now that the meds are back in my system. I also found out I’m not really asthmatic, though I do have that horrible allergy to NSAIDs. I’m getting some allergy-test results this week, let’s see what happens.

Work-wise, I’m getting involved in some new projects. I got some cool preliminary data and I want to show it to my boss to see what he thinks. I also want to show the data to the collaborator and see what he thinks. This is somewhat related to one of my areas of expertise, and while I was collecting the data I kept smiling, I felt like I was back in my good-data days of grad school.

But as much as I like my job and co-workers, and as much as I enjoy the instrumentation, things will have to change at some point. Honey is back in our hometown and is actively looking for work. We’ve talked more seriously about family, our future, and the word marriage has come up. We’re still poor from our grad school and postdoc days, so of course nothing is going to happen any time soon, but in preparation for what could happen I’d like to get my ass down home sooner rather than later. The prospect of starting another job search seems daunting, especially during an election year, with a bad economy to boot. But, I’m positive that it will happen and I need to prepare for that. It’s hard to network when you’re far away from home. This job search would also entail working on something different as the techniques I’m an “expert” in are not used at home. I could bring that expertise with me and start things myself, but again, I don’t think I’m ready to become a TT in said area. But one aspect I’m positive about is that even when I was away from my field of training for 2 years, picking things up again wasn’t as terrible (or as slow) as I made it out to be, so once I’m back in my home turf, I can start exploring options to see if I can get my hands back on the instrumentation I like so much. I know that what I know how to do would be a great tool to have at hand in my home institution, but right now they’re going through some tough patches money-wise, which is why I think it’s best to wait. We’ll see what happens. I’m giddy at the idea of living with honey once and for all, of going places together, having a regular life as a couple in the same place, planning vacations together, exploring things, enjoying working on what we like without the pressure of being students/postdocs. I’m looking forward to that. In the meantime I need to work my tail off to hopefully have my name in a few proposals and maybe even a paper or two so I have a bit of a bargaining chip  when the interviews (hopefully) come.

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Musings, and internet overload

Hey y’all, here’s my usual weekly most. Today I’m feeling mostly weak. I’m tired, I’m not sleeping well. I’m missing my boyfriend, I don’t feel successful at work, I’m frustrated, and above all, I feel like I’m overloaded with the web.

You may have noticed that I enter Twitter sparsely these days. It’s not that I don’t like y’all, I really do. But sometimes it feels a bit overwhelming. I look at my stream and there are so many interesting stories and bits, and I’d love to stay current. I have a million tabs open on my browser, I don’t know when and where I started. I feel burned. I haven’t felt like that in a while. I like you all, I do, I’m just feeling a little restless and overwhelmed. I try to answer my @’s and emails and other forms of communication, but I’m mostly out of the loop, as I just feel a little overpowered by the web.

I’m shopping for a doctor, I need a prescription for my PMDD pills.

I’m missing honey like mad, and his job search is going much like mine was last year. He really, really wants a TT position, and it breaks my heart that he gets promises, but little on the side of an actual job. I feel his pain, and it feels like I’m being suckered punch every time he gets a negative, or worse, gets ignored.

At work I’m feeling accomplished on some things, but not others. I’m bored at times, and extremely busy at others, some things are becoming repetitive and I sometimes feel like I’m not doing my best, or contributing or doing my all. Truth be told, some of the new projects coming in do not use my expertise at all. I’ve been doing some work for some profs, but they and their students are doing most of the processing and writing up, so I’m not contributing much in that area either.

It’s not that I don’t like what I do, it just feels like I don’t have enough to do at times. There are changes happening soon which will mean being busier than usual for a few months. There are possible projects coming, but they’re far in the future (at least looking at them today).

I was also under the weather, which may have to do with the overall feeling of bleh I’m having. I’ll be back with more good stuff, but for now I need space, I’m tired and uninspired.

Resolutions 2012 – Eight months in

Here’s how things are going eight months into 2012. The changes are crossed and have a comment. Enjoy!

Even though I complain all the time about hating to do resolutions, I still manage to make a list. I like lists, I enjoy making them and I enjoy crossing stuff off even more. So, without further ado, here’s what I hope to accomplish have accomplished in 2012 (in no particular order):

  1. Get bangs. I love bangs, but after a while I get tired. I found a haircut that I love and back in October, I found a stylist that I like, so I hope to get into the spirit of spring with a new haircut and bangs to match. Finally I’m sporting bangs, a little long, but that’s better than ending up with Audrey Hepburn’s bangs on hair that’s thicker than thick. My bangs are grown now and as it always happens, I end up hating them after a while. But, I may get them again in the fall/winter when they don’t look all crappy due to humidity (and sweat).
  2. Sell my car.
  3. But first I need to *finally* get the papers in order. It still has an ON title.  *** I did get my driver’s license and I got the papers for transferring the title … one step at a time. Done and I finally changed my driver’s licence too (bye, bye ON licence).
  4. Ask for a raise, because I deserve it, and I want it. After having the results of my year end review, I ended up with a few more pennies in my pocket. Not too shabby :-)
  5. Visit the family and stay a few days without worrying about money. Possibly attend my nephew’s birthday. I did, and I did attend my nephew’s birthday. I love that little bundle of awesome :-)
  6. Attend hon’s defense and graduation. We can call honey Mr 30 and a PhD.YAY! I didn’t get to go to hon’s graduation due to unforeseen circumstances (ie. my ex roommate moving in with her fiancee and me getting kicked out and having to find a new place). But, I got to go to his defense which was awesome.
  7. Make a dent on credit card debt #3, the smallest one (thought it’s still pretty significant).
  8. Attend a national meeting of my discipline or at least sub-field. I have no money to attend, and work won’t cover it unless I pay in advance, so not this year.
  9. Appear on a publication, even if it’s just in the acknowledgments.
  10. Write an entry once a week. So far so good.
  11. Make dinner at home, at least 1 week of every month (it costs me as much to dine out as to buy groceries and cook, so I opt to (mostly) eat out and work late).Woo! Achieved. I’m cooking most days in, not 7 days a week, but most days a week, every week. Not too shabby here either. I’ll take eating in most days, rather than cooking for 7 days just one week a month. Due to the move I’m back ordering food online. Let’s see how I can correct this.
  12. Tell annoying family member to fuck off if he keeps harassing me.
  13. Try a few new places to eat, especially around my neighbourhood (not that I don’t love you y’all, but you know, I need variety). Forced to do because of the move, that said, I *finally* found an awesome place for thai food. Not as good as my favourite places in Canada, but edible enough (who knew it was so hard to find decent pad thai in NYC, WTF??).
  14. Walk more, eat less, drink more water. Not eating less, but I’m opting to walk more whenever I can (and soon I should be getting my orthotics! finally done, yay!!!) and I’m drinking water most days at home; can’t seem to give up on Pepsi.
  15. Find a good, local brewery and try a new beer every month (suggestions are more than appreciated, also #drunksci). Been trying new beers/drinks almost every month. Hooray beer!

*** Amendment: my phone is doing all sorts of crazy shit, so even if I end up eating ramen noodles for two weeks, I’m getting rid of this crazy piece of shit and getting a new (and true) smartphone.

On gradually becoming an ally

Due to all the asshattery lately (not that I’m looking at you Chick-fil-A … nooooo, not at all) I am compelled to write about this. I’ve been silent (blog-wise) for a long time, and it’s time I write openly and proudly about it.

I was, at one point, a conservative (not fiscally, but morally). I was raised a Catholic (and I occasionally still go to church, but it has to be an inclusive one, which can be found in NYC, thank God). My dad is a self-defined atheist who is pissed at the Church, yet whenever I sneeze (or call home) he says God bless you. My mom is a very committed Catholic. I admire her dedication to the Church and to what she believes will bring her salvation. But I can acknowledge now that I had lots of issues with the Church growing up. I was baptized by the same priest that married my parents, I was in choirs growing up and even in grad school. I’ve participated in plays, prayers and everything under the sun. I know the prayers backwards and forwards, I’ve been there. But like I said, growing up I had many issues with the Church, which is partly why it doesn’t surprise me now that I rebelled.

I swallowed the Kool-aid that some “well meaning” old folks at Church made, mostly with their conservative interpretation of the Bible. I grew up believing that it was fantastic to get a job, but that it was an even greater honour to be a wife and a mother, and while my mother never professed submission to her husband, she did become submissive to her Church, something that’s still true to this day. Growing up I faced many challenges, particularly from a somewhat physically abusive father (he once punched me in the back so hard, my sister, a little girl at the time, had to beg him not to kill me … the next day I had black and blues all over my back). I excelled in school, was an obedient child, never had a boyfriend, never kissed anyone until I was in college. I saw things through the tinted lens of a very conservative interpretation of morality by the fellows at my local Church.

I grew up knowing that it was perfectly acceptable to believe that God created the Earth in 6 days and rested on the 7th, while also believing in evolution. There was never an issue there. I still don’t have much of an issue with it.

But growing up in that environment had a deep impact on me. The very first boyfriend I had, after so much prayer, so many confessions and so much Kool-aid, I slept with months into our relationship. I can see now that it was a natural reaction to all those years of having to hide my child-like curiosity about normal development and human relationships. I slept with him as a way of protesting my upbringing, but God-forbid I use a condom, that would have sent me straight to hell (and if I got a STD or a child, so be it, that’s my punishment for being a whore). I was submitting to my ex-boyfriend even when he wasn’t asking me to. In my mind I wanted to make things right. I thought that if I married him, even if I’d slept with him before, I’d still be able to “wash away” my sin and become a good Catholic girl once again.

That didn’t go as planned and I had to deal with feelings of insecurity and worthlessness once our relationship went kaput. In my culture and my family, many times, the value of a woman is attached to not having sex, being pure and chaste, not so much on the value of her heart and feelings, and accomplishments despite being perceived as a token latina by everyone. None of that matters, it’s the fact that you’re unblemished what is truly important. A man will sleep with many, but only choose a virgin … once you’re not a virgin, you’re a whore, worthy of nothing, especially love. I felt reduced to a membrane and whether it was present or not.

Little by little I started to wake up from the slumber. It was a tough path, I’m still walking it today. Eventually I began to accept a loving God that sees me as his daughter, as good enough, as long as I keep his commandment of treating others as I’d like to be treated. I believe that same God sent me a partner who understood what I was going through, and who challenged me (and still does) to do better, to be accepting, inclusive, to go beyond tolerance and help in the fight for equality, to combat the hate and rage that inevitably come from not conforming to the conservative lens we grew up under.

Honey can attest how stubborn I am, and how shocked I was with him when we first started dating and he wanted to discuss things like: how should pedophiles within the Church be dealt with (my old view: prayer; his view: prosecution, conviction, jail, restitution by the Church), with women preachers (me back then: hell to the no; him: why not? especially with the priest shortage!), equality, (me: AYFKM, haven’t we given those heathen enough! as it is, they’re going straight to hell, the Bible says so!!; him: we must fight to make sure EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE is equal, men and women, marriage (not “gay” marriage and “straight marriage”, just plain and simple marriage), and so on and so forth.

It took me a while to come to terms with the fact that the same oppression I’d experienced within certain communities in the Church and in society at large was one that people around me, because of their race, or who they love, were/are experiencing. I remember feeling sad, depressed (almost suicidal), by the fact that I was a woman, a horrible being, a whore within the Church for not being a virgin anymore. How much can one withsand when told “you’re not good enough, worthy enough, of love, respect, of basic rights and dignity because of who you are and choose to love?” I know not every Church or community is like that, I’m just pointing out how the conservatism of my old community influenced how I felt when I was in it. Once that  dawned on me, I realized that I was being the same kind of jerk to the rest of the world as the one I was running away from.

Honey says he’s proud of me for seeing the change in me, and in my capacity to accept and help defend the rights of those marginalized everywhere, but particularly by institutions with power, be it the Church, or a community of like-minded people controlling certain parts of government (or a school, a fast food joint, company, etc).

Little by little I realized and embraced that it doesn’t matter what colour you are, what faith you choose (or not) to profess, or who you love, but how you treat others, the kind person you are, to you and others, that is what matters. It was a long path, it’s still not done. I’d like to think there’s room to grow. But by becoming accepting of people with different backgrounds, faiths, beliefs, cultures and even who they chose to love, less hate, less anger, less anguish fill my life.

By becoming an ally of those oppressed, particularly in the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transvestite, transsexual/transgender community, by not standing with the oppressor, in whatever form it comes, I become a better person, I’m able to love others as I’m supposed to love and treat and do to myself. By acknowledging that everyone, regardless of their gender, deserves the right to live in peace, to be respected, to demonstrate that love, to commit to their partners, to become loving parents and by standing up when I’m called to do so, I become a better person … not only that, I ensure that those in future generations, will have access to the same freedoms and responsibilities as I do today.

It is not fair … in fact, it is pure idiocy to try and use every Bible trick under the sun to try to justify hate, to try to deny what is fair and just and to belittle, betray and deny others the same freedom to love, to take care of and create loving partners and families that they all, and we all deserve.

What I’ve said may have been said more eloquently before, but I had to get it off my chest. I won’t, I can’t stand for hate, for marginalization, for not defending and ensuring that everyone around me, regardless of how and who they want to express their love to, can do so. A few years ago I read a book called ‘Pornografía y vestidos de novia‘ (pornography and wedding gows, small essays on the dichotomy of being a woman and expected to marry in white but act like a slut behind closed doors, if you can get your hands on it, please read it). In it, the author mentions that the so-called traditional family model (mom, dad, son(s), daughther) … the heteronormativity, has proven its failure over and over, then why on Earth (said much more eloquently by Gemma Lienas) are we so darn stubborn and deny that loving, same-sex families have their chance at love and marriage and creating a family. Not only same-sex couples, but fathers that can provide a better future for their kids, grandparents who provide a supportive net for the family, in essence, anyone that desires to form a family, regardless of how fair away it seems to be from the “traditional” family. That I think it’s what finally put the nail in the coffin of my conservatism.

I’m proud of who I am today. I know I need and have much more growing up to do. I’m proud to be an ally in the fight (and defense) of equality, gender, marriage, racial and even class. I hope you are too.